BETHLEHEM -- The first of Pennsylvania's 52 stores selling medical marijuana products opened Wednesday in the Lehigh Valley.
The opening of Keystone Canna Remedies a few blocks from downtown Bethlehem puts medical marijuana one step closer to patients who need it, according to its owner.
"Our focus was always patient education," said Victor Guadagnino, Keystone Canna Remedies.
The facility opened Wednesday to kick off patient education.
Special rooms for classes like "Vaporizing 101" will start soon, so those who have prescriptions for the drug can better know how and how much to take.
"Cannabis is medicine. Marijuana is medicine, and we want the patient experience to be very positive so we can start giving patients the access they deserve," said Bradley Carlson, Keystone Canna Remedies.
Officials believe 12,000 people in our state will soon have access to prescriptions for the drug that will be processed in liquid, oil, and pill forms.
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Patients in Northampton County can expect to be able to receive medical marijuana sometime in February when growing and processing operations across the state are expected to begin producing marijuana.
"This is a medical program for patients with serious medical conditions, and medical marijuana will provide one more tool in the toolbox for physicians to be able to help patients," said acting Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.
Of the six dispensaries in our area, the Justice Grown Shop in the Gateway Plaza in Edwardsville could be the first in our area to open. Its owner tells Newswatch 16 it could get final approval from the state to open in February with the ability to sell prescription marijuana products about two weeks after opening.
The Keystone Center of Integrative Wellness expects to open its dispensary in Williamsport in March at a location it plans to name soon.
The owner of a dispensary in Scranton, which also plans to open satellite shops in Wilkes-Barre and in Monroe County has not said when it plans to open its facilities.